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Gold settled modestly higher on Monday, and struggled to build on its biggest weekly rise in two months, as a rally sparked by expectations that the Federal Reserve will postpone tapering its monetary stimulus ran out of steam.
Gold climbed nearly 4 percent last week on expectations the Fed would have to maintain stimulus measures after a two-week U.S. government shutdown hurt growth expectations. But strong gains in other assets have dampened gold's appeal to investors, while physical demand remains lackluster.
Spot gold was last flat at $1,315 an ounce, while for December delivery settled $1.20 higher at $1,315.80 an ounce.
Spot prices hit their highest in 1-1/2 weeks on Friday after rebounding from a three-month low at $1,251.66, a move analysts attributed to investors holding short positions—or commitments to sell— closing out those contracts.
"Investment interest in gold is rather low. Everything we've seen has been more short-covering than anything else,'' Credit Suisse analyst Tobias Merath said. "People are also not properly incentivised to turn to gold with long-term buying intentions.
''At some point the Fed will have to start tapering, there is also a consensus view that over three, four, five years bond yields will most likely be higher, and right now inflation rates are very low and show no sign of picking up," he said. ''These are the factors you will look at, if you ask yourself whether there is a need to buy gold right now."
European shares hit five-year highs on Monday and the dollar held near an eight-month low on expectations the Fed will have to delay scaling back stimulus after the shutdown.
Gold had fallen more than a fifth this year on expectations the Fed's $85 billion monthly bond-buying scheme, which has driven gold higher by pressuring long-term interest rates and fueling fears over inflation, was coming to an end.
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